Tenants left high and dry after water pipes stolen

THE two remaining tenants in a block of flats set to be demolished have finally been forced out, after thieves stole their water pipes.

• Landlord Martino Mangeniello has blocked council bids to buy the flat.

Martino Mangeniello has been resisting council attempts to buy the flat he rents out in Muirhouse Avenue despite all the other residents in the block of 15 moving on.

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The city council wants to demolish the building but Mr Mangeniello has refused to accept an offer which he says is 20,000 less than he paid for it.

He has continued to rent out the property to Carmen Foamete, 45, and her flatmate Magda Zslak, despite the council halting rubbish collections and constant vandal attacks on the neighbouring properties.

The three-year stand-off appears to be at an end, however, after the scrap metal thieves this week stole the pipes supplying the home, leading to the building being flooded and the supply cut off with repairs ruled out.

Ms Foamete, who has lived in the flat for a year, said: "I came home from work at 5pm on Wednesday and I looked up and saw water flooding from the windows. Inside the common stair it was the same, flowing from the doors.

"I used my umbrella on the stairs because the water was so heavy. When I opened the door it was the same in the house.

"There were 100 books on the shelf and they are all saturated. I don't know what we will do with the toilet or showers tonight. I'll have to try to find somewhere to live tomorrow."

She added: "Rubbish has been left everywhere and they (the council refuse collectors] do not come to get the rubbish any more, so the young people set it on fire. They also drink in the abandoned flats downstairs. It's quite scary."

Mr Mangeniello bought the flat four years ago for 92,000 before the block was earmarked for demolition to make way for a new housing development.

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The 32-year-old, who works for a publishing firm in Edinburgh, said the council had offered to buy the flat for 72,000.

Mr Mangeniello said: "I've been left in an impossible situation because I can't afford to sell the flat to the council for a 20,000 loss, but they won't repair a building that's going to be demolished one day.

"The council have failed to secure the building and people have come in and stripped everything.

"Every time I've spoken to the council they have brushed me off."The tenants have been very patient but I'll have to find them somewhere else."

He added that the council said it would consider isolating the water supply to the single flat today, but that full repairs would not be carried out.

A city council spokeswoman said she believed Mr Mangeniello's tenants had moved out of the property and, as a result, Scottish Water cut off the supply when the extent of the flooding emerged.

The council is now working with the landlord and tenants to help resolve their situation.

The spokeswoman said: "Mr Mangeniello is a private landlord who lets one of the remaining four properties in the area.

"We have been in negotiations with the owner over the sale of the property for the last three years and continue to actively seek a resolution with him."